Sometimes, things take far too long to get from “done” to actually publishable. That is definitely the case in this interview I had with Marek Rosa of Keen Software, who is best known for his work in creating Space Engineers and Medieval Engineers. The interview happened back at the end of May, and we’re now two months later. It went through issues with E3 taking up time, people not getting back, things getting misplaced, other time sensitive things coming up … and none of you really care. But I just want to publicly apologize here to Marek and Keen Software on how long this took to get up; in fact, in the time it took to get up they’ve split their general AI research off into a sister company!
This interview was an odd one in that while I don’t follow the Engineer games, it was really interesting to do, researching them some to learn more about it, and also the chance to talk more about the industry in general in some ways. Having two games in Early Access at the same time is not something common and was an interesting chance to discuss how Early Access works and where it should go. It was also interesting to learn more about how Space Engineers and Medieval Engineers have helped each other grow, and the plans for each to continue growing the other as, they are being developed in conjunction. Biomes and similar features will be coming to Medieval Engineers, and Space Engineers will be getting AI for fleets using what began with the characters in Medieval Engineers.
We also discussed AI and where that is, and how to avoid things like Skynet from destroying us all—something of a concern to all of us given the development and research into AI. After all, we don’t want to become evolutionary footnotes of our own to robots that we build.
One very interesting part was where Marek discussed that he thought that they put out Medieval Engineers too early into Early Access and that it wasn’t far enough along. It’s the type of honest self assessment that makes Keen a company to really watch as they do look and listen … and learn from the things that have happened. It’s also something I think a lot of developers looking at Early Access should consider, as right now the platform is not for soft launches, and you do need a functioning product that engages players or else you risk permanently turning them away from the game you are attempting to build with their feedback.
Well, you’re probably tired of reading my ramble in text, now get ready to watch it on video with Marek Rosa, with Space Engineers footage running alongside.
Special thanks to Shaun Joy for grabbing that and for editing the video in general!